Prognostic value of cardiopulmonary exercise testing repetition during follow-up of clinically stable patients with severe dilated cardiomyopathy. A preliminary study.

Baracchini N; Zaffalon D; Merlo M; Baschino S; Barbati G; Pezzuto B; Capovilla TM; Rossi M; Carriere C; Agostoni P; Sinagra G;

International journal of cardiology [Int J Cardiol] 2023 Aug 08, pp. 131252.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2023 Aug 08.

Background: Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is a recognized tool for prognostic stratification in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Given the lack of data currently available, the aim of this study was to test the prognostic value of repeating CPET during the follow-up of patients with DCM.
Methods: This multicenter, retrospective study, analyzed DCM patients who consecutively performed two echocardiographies and CPETs during clinical stability. The study end-point was a composite of death from all causes, heart transplantation, left ventricular assist device implantation, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias or hospitalization for heart failure.
Results: 216 DCM patients were enrolled (52 years, 78% male, NYHA I-II 82%, LVEF 32%, 94% on ACE inhibitors/ARNI, 95% on beta-blockers). The interval between CPETs was 15 months. During a median follow-up of 38 months from the second CPET, 102 (47%) patients experienced the study end-point. Among them, there was stability of echocardiographic values but a significant worsening of functional capacity. Among the 173 patients (80%) who did not show echocardiographic left ventricular reverse remodeling (LVRR), the 1-year prevalence of the study-end point was higher in patients who worsened vs patients who maintained stable their functional capacity at CPET (38 vs. 15% respectively, p-value: 0.001). These results were consistent also when excluding life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias from the composite end-point.
Conclusion: In clinically stable DCM patients with important depression of LVEF, the repetition of combined echocardiography and CPET might be recommended. When LVRR fails, 1-year repetition of CPET could identify higher-risk patients.